From Oxford’s Gipsy Hill and Windsor’s Tinkers Lane to Worthing’s Romany Road, the historical contribution of Britain’s Gypsy, Romany and Traveller community is hinted at in place names across the south-east of England. The community has been in Britain for at least 500 years, but their history is often difficult to find.
Surrey’s travelling peoples have been here since the sixteenth century and Surrey History Centre holds a range of archives, photographs, and published works which illustrate the fact and fiction surrounding this community over the centuries.
Tracing travelling ancestors can be challenging, click here for Surrey History Centre’s guide to sources for tracing Gypsy, Romany and Traveller history in Surrey.
Find out more about the history of Surrey’s Gypsy community in Alan Wright’s ground-breaking book Their Day has Passed: Gypsies in Victorian and Edwardian Surrey. Alan’s research is based on a wealth of sources held at Surrey History Centre, many of which have never been used before in this area of research. The work features travelling families, encampments, and the community’s struggle with Surrey landowners in the era when travelling life was starting to come to an end. The book has been reviewed on the Guildford Dragon website at http://www.guildford-dragon.com/2018/04/27/book-review-their-day-has-passed-gypsies-in-victorian-and-edwardian-surrey/.
Can you help?
Surrey History Centre is keen to hear from anyone who has material relating to Surrey’s travelling communities which can further research in this area. Please contact Surrey History Centre at [email protected] or 01483 518737.
Helpful links for tracing the history of the Gypsy, Romany and Traveller community in Surrey:
The Traveller Project
Funded by the European Union and the South East Museum Library and Archive Council, this project was designed to encourage greater access to the region’s museums, libraries and archives for the region’s large Gypsy and Traveller population. The project was the British contribution to a 3 year pan-European effort to remove barriers in accessing cultural heritage. Click here to read more about this project and the final report.
Travellers Tales DVD
The hidden heritage of Surrey’s largest ethnic minority is uncovered in this film celebrating the history and culture of Surrey’s Gypsy and Traveller community.
Copies of the project video are now available to view through YouTube. See the links below:
Fairgrounds in Surrey
Traveller Education in Surrey
An EU funded project made up of a partnership of heritage organisations and Roma representatives from Germany, Greece, Slovenia, Romania and the UK (Surrey Heritage). The project aimed to encourage intercultural dialogue between Roma and non Roma to promote European Roma cultural heritage. Click here to read more about the Roma Routes project. For more information contact Surrey Heritage, at Surrey History Centre.
Read an article on the Gypsy Holocaust by GRT experts Mike Doherty and Robert Dawson in Travellers’ Times online at http://travellerstimes.org.uk/News/The-Gypsy-Holocaust.aspx